Competition: Major League Soccer – Philadelphia Union vs. Toronto FC
Venue: PPL Park – Saturday, May 2nd – 16:00 ET (21:00 BST – Live on Sky Sports)
Match Odds: Philadelphia 5/4 – Draw 12/5 – Toronto 21/10
The Union have only won once this season, in a 2-1 home victory against New York City FC, and come into Saturday’s game off back-to-back defeats.
Jim Curtin’s side were thumped 4-1 at Columbus Crew last Saturday and need to try and find some form to prevent them from falling too far behind the pack in the hunt for playoff football.Embed from Getty Images
They’re level with Saturday’s opponents, Toronto, on six points after eight weeks and both will see this as a winnable game.
The Reds picked up just their second win of the season at Orlando City last weekend to end a four-game losing streak and the trip to PPL Park will be the last of their seven-game away run to open the campaign.
They will play at BMO Field for the first time this season next week but need to focus on this game first against a Philadelphia team that has the worst defensive record in MLS.Embed from Getty Images
Toronto have attacking stars such as Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco to unleash on that leaky Union defence that has conceded 17 times in nine games, and that will be a concern for Philadelphia supporters.
One thing to note is that Toronto have never won at PPL Park in MLS. The Union have won the last three meetings, including both last season, without conceding a goal.
Philadelphia could be without five players. Eric Bird (hernia) remains out, while Antoine Hoppenot (hamstring), Fernando Aristeguieta (thigh), Vincent Nogueira (ankle) and Steven Vitoria (groin) are all doubtful. Maurice Edu is likely to start in defence again but he will need to be careful as he is one booking away from suspension.
Toronto FC head coach Greg Vanney will be without Clement Simonin (knee), while Steven Caldwell (achilles) and Mark Bloom (thigh) remain doubts. Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco are starting to gel together and both will start in attack again for the Reds on Saturday night.
Philadelphia Union’s last five: L/W/D/L/L
Toronto FC’s last five: L/L/L/L/W
Key Stat: Toronto have not beaten Philadelphia in their last seven meetings, losing the last three on the bounce without scoring a goal.
Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – The Italian playmaker is starting to look like the superstar Toronto hoped they had signed. He has three goals and three assists in six appearances so far and will be a real threat for the Union to deal with.Embed from Getty Images
Philadelphia Union 1-3 Toronto FC – Toronto to snap that seven-game winless run against the Union with a convincing performance and victory. Philadelphia have looked extremely vulnerable this season and their defensive frailties will be exploited by a dangerous Reds attack.